Ninotchka setting / FRI 9-26-14 / Brewer of Schlitz nowadays / Fad dance of 1930s / Asian tourist magnet / Like Tik-Tok in Land of Oz / Philosopher who wrote superstition is religion of feeble minds / Banned items at Wimbledon

Friday, September 26, 2014

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: PABST (1D: Brewer of Schlitz, nowadays) —
The Pabst Brewing Company is an American company that dates its origins to a brewing company founded in 1844 by Jacob Best and by 1889 named after Frederick Pabst. It is currently the holding company contracting for the brewing of over two dozen brands of beer and malt liquor from defunct companies including G. Heileman Brewing CompanyLone Star Brewing CompanyPearl Brewing CompanyPiels Bros.National Brewing Company,Olympia Brewing CompanyPrimo Brewing & Malting CompanyRainier Brewing CompanyF & M Schaefer Brewing CompanyJoseph Schlitz Brewing CompanyJacob Schmidt Brewing Company and Stroh Brewery Company.
The company is also responsible for the brewing of Ice Man Malt LiquorSt. Ides High Gravity Malt Liquor, and retail versions of beers from McSorley's Old Ale House and Southampton Publick House (of Southampton, New York).
Pabst is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. On September 18, Oasis Beverages, backed by TSG Consumer Partners, announced an agreement to acquire Pabst Brewing Company from C. Dean Metropoulos & Co for $700 million. (wikipedia)
• • •

Please, constructors, print out this grid and stick it on your damned wall near wherever it is that you construct puzzles. This is the ideal you're chasing when pursuing "clean fill." You won't attain this ideal, but keeping it in mind might ensure that you don't fall embarrassingly short. 66 words, huge slant-stack in the middle, zinging fill all over the place, and there's hardly a clunker in the Whole Thing. C'EST. That might be the weakest link. AGRA and OMAN and INGE are common, but they are very much real things *and* please say hello to their little friends AIRHORNS ARGONAUTS BACKTALKS BINGONIGHT and SLEEPER HIT. The gap between the quality of this puzzle and the quality of the average puzzle this week is stunning. It's an education, actually. A friend of mine looked at the data from another crossword website, where all major and many minor puzzles are rated by users on a star system. Now I've never put too much store in this system, for a variety of reasons, but the numbers are nonetheless compelling: out of roughly 750 puzzles rated this calendar year, three of the lowest-rated eleven puzzles were from this week's NYT. The NYT had seven puzzles in the top 40 for the year, and three of those were made by ... [drum roll] … yeah, Patrick Berry. So if you line up the NYT puzzles from this week so far, you can see how great Patrick Berry is, or you can see how far the NYT's standards have fallen away from the ideal. Or both. Or neither, I guess, but "neither" is gonna be a tough one to defend.

Here's something I can fault this puzzle for—I can't believe there are so many "-ING"s. And all interlocking! Is the NYT not embarrassed by such redundancy, such cheap trickery, such shoddy constructionship!? I mean SPIRITING, BUMMING, UMPING, ROCKING … where will it end!? OK, it ends there, but my fake-outrage stands.

I got thrown a bit by 1D: Brewer of Schlitz, nowadays (PABST), because my first thought was PABST, but then I thought, "Oh, wait, no, it's that damned Russian company that just bought PABST and all the other old beer imprints, the one mentioned on the "Colbert Report" the other day … What Is Their Name!?" But they weren't relevant to the clue. PABST still brews Schlitz, despite the change in parent company. Ap-parent-ly.

Please enjoy your Friday. I'm gonna do this puzzle again, from scratch, just for fun.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I have mentally reclued 24D: Hard-to-escape situation. It's now [What yesterday's puzzle could've used?]


wreck 8:00 AM  

Ditto! This was my fastest Friday ever.

.... can't wait to hear from the anonymice today!

dk 8:03 AM  

OOO (3 mOOOns)

Best of the week. Solid solve for this puppy.

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

I could not not agree more with Rex's commentary. Absolutely delightful puzzle construction and enjoyable solving experience. What a refreshing feeling compared to this week's other puzzles (at least 3 were horrible)!
I got giddy just seeing the name of Mr. Patrick Berry and was amply rewarded.
I need some googling on most Fridays and today was no different. But the "cheating" was modest just to give me an anchor. Relatively speaking I would rate this puzzle as easy.
Thank you again Mr. Berry.

mathguy 8:23 AM  

Nice puzzle, not at all easy for me. But I was able to solve it before hitting the sack last night. And without passing it to The Closer.

The clue for BINGONIGHT twisted my sorry mind into a knot. It isn't a synonym as is the case for most clues. It must be asking a question. But what is the question?

Maruchka 8:24 AM  

Hooray for PB and Rex P! Love this one lots. Smooth, with crunchy bits.

One misstep with hangING AROUND led to one google for Edmund BURKE, wise man of conscience for his time. Shoulda known..

Fav of the day - FIRE DAMP. So oxymoron-ish.

Re: LOUIE LOUIE. Did anyone actually hear naughty words on their 45? Tried to, god knows, without success. On reflection, I believe it was a FBI snipe hunt. Any counter claims are, as always, welcome.

Jim Walker 8:24 AM  

At the delis I patronize one would get (at least) a strange look for ordering a BLT. Absent that tiny cavil, I loved the puzzle. Easy but substantial. I wonder if there will still be POSTMEN a year from now if that miser Bezos has his way.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Nice Friday for me. Slowish start, then gathered speed. Stalled for a moment, then husband provided APHID. I agree with Rex. Smooth solve. Favorite - LOUIELOUIE. I can just see J. Edgar Hoover at his desk trying to figure it out.

joho 8:27 AM  


I can list almost every answer in this puzzle as wonderful. BINGONIGHT brought a smile as did LOUIELOUIE.

Minor bumps with rye before BLT and tres before CEST.

As @Rex says, this is the way it's done ... again! ... by the master, Patrick.

Maruchka 8:41 AM  

@ Jim Walker - Agree on the BLT (like @joho, thought rye). At a diner, BLTs are on the menu. At a deli? No, not in NYC to my knowledge.

All-time favorite deli sandwich is corned beef on corn rye with Russian dressing. Best I ever had was at the Second Avenue Deli - long gone now, alas.

Mohair Sam 8:41 AM  

Great write-up Rex, and thank you Patrick Berry.

LOUIELOUIE the only pure gimme for us, although I was pretty confident of BINGONIGHT (somehow just "got" the clue). Put them in and worked steadily toward the middle and finished kinda quickly (for us doing a Berry puzzle) when COALMINE opened the SW for us.

Any Cole Porter title is good fill Rex. Dean Martin did C'EST Magnifique better than anyone, btw.

We toured a coal mine near Scranton a year ago - wherein we learned the term firedamp and also learned that I was claustrophobic. Wife remembered firedamp, I remember panic.

retired_chemist 8:50 AM  

Easy. Should have been faster but messed up the Minnesota area and couldn't find a typo in GA.

The long fill mostly just rolled. a couple of crosses and - BINGO.

Lots of stuff in my wheelhouse and a few lucky guesses. SHAG? I must have head of it at some point because I out it in without crosses after I erased my previous efforts in MN and redid it.

Thanks, Mr. Berry.

Carola 8:51 AM  

Medium for me, with one pleasure after another. I also noticed the linking central -INGS, with a bonus pair in the NW in BINGO x INGE.

More body parts - BUST over BUM. In the SE, DO IN leading to ENDED finished things nicely.

@mathguy - I had to puzzle over that clue a long time, but finally saw that "this evening" doesn't mean 'tonight" - "this evening" is BINGO NIGHT.

@Rex - Happy start to your 9th year, and thank you!

George Barany 8:54 AM  

It was brought to my attention yesterday afternoon that someone apparently got on his daddy's big computer and posted several times under my name. I posted a single comment yesterday morning at 6:47 AM. Anything after that was someone impersonating me, and stupidly. It still always surprises me that anyone past middle school thinks this kind of thing is funny.

For what it's worth, I have no affiliation with any website but my own (George Barany and Crossword Friends), and I obtained permission from @Michael Sharp aka @Rex before promoting our puzzles here. Any other sites that I might mention, like @Hayley Gold's web comic, are included purely for fun and leisure.

As for today's Patrick Berry puzzle, I agree with everyone ... it's fantastic. I for one will he listening to RENEE Fleming for the rest of the morning.

AliasZ 8:59 AM  

This one's a Patrick Berry masterclass
Teaching us how to avoid crabgrass,
How to fill a half-empty glass,
Showing us not to be crass,
And to never harass
A curvy young LASS
Who has MORASS
Than a brass

Cheers, with the BROOK Green Suite by Gustav Holst.

Kathy D. 9:01 AM  

I liked this puzzle, too, but thought it easy for a Friday, i.e., I didn't have to Google anything!

I only got stumped momentarily twice: Had Locke, then for a second thought it was Gorky (go figure!), but then realized it was Burke.

And I had lose for going over 21, then I realize it was bust.

All in all, a simple, easy puzzle which brought smiles as I filled in the answers. Very enjoyable, but no answers I had to suffer over.

DannyO 9:28 AM  

@Professor Barany

You may have asked @RP for permission to promote your stuff on this site, but what about the blog readers who have to wade through your postings? Surely we share "ownership" of this site with @RP.

There are plenty of other links to sites on the right side of the page, and you simply have to ask your buddy @Rex to list your sites there, where others who may appreciate your stuff have access, and where those of us with no interest aren't waylaid.

If you can promote your stuff in the mainline comments, it can encourage others to follow, with or without "permission."

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

I love love love this puzzle! Patrick Berry once again demonstrates his artistry. But I still pine for a puzzle like the absolutely genius chess crossword he created some years ago. THANK YOU PATRICK AND WILL!

Questinia 9:43 AM  

I wonder to what extent PB puzzles are edited compared to others. Are they just boilerplate apotheosized?

Love the Blake quote and the allusion to Coleridge via the clue "ancient mariner". The Romanticism further expressed by a visual slantstack.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

Here's a bit of advice. If you don't like a post/poster ignore it/them and move on. You are not the "moderator." It is much more aggravating to read YOUR posts complaining.

quilter1 9:49 AM  

Excited to see PB's byline and what a pleasure to solve after the subpar offerings this week. I solved the corners first and worked toward the middle. Fun to see CARPENTER ANTS and ROCKINGHORSES emerge. Hope tomorrow is just as good.

Nancy 9:55 AM  

Wonderfully fresh and enjoyable puzzle. I might have found it easy-ish if I hadn't had two answers that threw me off completely for the longest time. LocKE for BURKE, which gave me loSe instead of BUST. And Nap for NOD, which gummed up part of the NE. But I eventually corrected the mistakes and solved. Loved the clues for SLEEPER HIT and BINGO NIGHT. The latter came in quickly; the former took much longer.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  


Who asked for YOUR "advice?"

Arlene 10:13 AM  

I was all set to start Googling, when I realized I didn't have to! I never thought I'd enjoy seeing CARPENTER ANTS, but that led to everything else. I also noticed a possible ING theme, too - not.

Only error was DJS instead of PJS, as I didn't really know Egyptian money, so DOUND didn't seem outrageous.

evil doug 10:13 AM  

I sang Louie Louie in my high school garage band. When it came to the lyrics in question, I just mumbled some incomprehensible sounds while making a suggestive face. Who knew what the damn words really were?

Liked the Shag fact. Almost got fooled since I vaguely remember a Shag dance craze in the 60s--maybe popularized in Carolina?

Starbucks didn't get the Times today, so I drove a few miles to the UDF quick stop for a copy. Worth the trip....


Charles Flaster 10:17 AM  

Loved it as it was real smooth. First run through gave very little.
IDLES led to LOUIELOUIE and rest flew. So I guess Easy-Medium in 16 minutes.
CrosswordEASE---- EONS,SKAT.
PB puzzles always contain "AHAHS!!!" for me so thanks PB.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

You don't have to "wade through" anything. It's called scrolling.

If you don't like something, just skip it! How hard is that??

Enjoyable PB puzzle- LOUIE LOUIE was not a SLEEPER HIT here!

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

Hard for me, but I solved it without cheating, so it was easy for a Saturday. Appreciated how nicely this puzzle was put together.

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

The name of this blog should be changed to: "I hate the NY Times Crossword puzzle as I rant about its perpetual decline daily but secretly love it because like a bad relationship I just can't seem to break up with it and do nothing but go on and on and on about my feelings for said puzzle." It's catchy with a certain je ne sais quoi and rolls right off the tongue.

RooMonster 10:41 AM  

Hey All!
I've read nothing but praise for this puz, even from Rex! Now while I think it's a good puz, I'm not sure if it deserves all the goody-goody-ness it's receiving, or if it's just a good puz after what most people thought was a weak week of puzzles. Calling to mind are all the INGs in the center stack area, 4 of them! Plus the INGE on top! Seems like that shouldn't fly. Just my opine, and just sayin...

Overall, I did think it a good puz, had some nice long fill, some writovers, Nap for NOD, send for DOIN, cReeK for BROOK, irAN for OMAN, the Schlitz thing, had coors (even though I knew it was wrong!), (then had something else, which I forgot now!!) finally got a bunch in the NE (which was the last area to fill) and got PABST (Blue Ribbon, baby!)

PB1 will keep on constructing, we'll keep on solving, and the world will keep on spinning.


Yet another Anon 10:46 AM  

@DannyO, everyone has opinions about what kind of posts they like and what kind they don't. There are contributors here whose comments I generally don't care to read, so I DON'T READ THEM. And seriously, we are talking about one post maybe every other day. And if, as you say, others are encouraged to self-promote, then it is @RP's job to decide whether to allow it or not.

It's not the responsibility of any blog to only allow postings that are of interest to you, personally.

And FWIW, I have no stake in this game, I just hate this kind of self-important attempt at policing other people. "Shared ownership", indeed. Sheesh.

LHS 888 10:51 AM  

I started this puzzle last night, and just couldn't get a toe-hold anywhere. I think I had 9 correct words filled in: PARIS, INGE, APHID, AGRA, BOHR, WISDOM, BUST, CEST, JUICE (loved the clue for JUICE) and a few wrong ones which made it difficult to see anything else (cReeK > BROOK, irate > ENDED, lance > STEED).

I looked at it again this morning and still found no traction, so I resorted to google: 49D's ELSE which solidified 58A ENDED. Amazingly, with that single google the rest of the puzzle fell into place as I moved around the grid counter-clockwise. It was both very satisfying and truly dissapointing that I couldn't have done it without the 1 google which gave me the official DNF. Aaargh! Oh, well... I have come a long way in solving Thurs. - Sat. puzzles thanks in large part to all here.

Anyway, PB's puzzle is a thing of beauty as is @Rex's write up. Thanks guys!

Whirred Whacks 10:52 AM  

My favorite clue: "Fault Finder"



Made me smile. I swim with a couple of geologists at the USGS (US Geological Survey), and I'm going to share that piece of humor with them today.

mac 10:56 AM  

Loved this puzzle, and my grid looks nice and clean.

Noticed the INGs, but they actually helped me out a little, so no complaints here!

I started out with Renee and the carpenter ants, which opened it up beautifully.

I thought a Belgian firm did a lot of shopping in the beer market, good to know Pabst is holding on.

DannyO 11:01 AM  

YAA at 10:46

re: "it's not the responsibility of any blog to only allow postings that are of interest to you, personally."

Hey, I only want to see postings that have to do with the NYT puzzle, and Rex's commentary on it. I assume that this is what most of the audience wants.

Tangential sites should be listed on the right side where others can go to their hearts' content. Is this so unreasonable?

Carole Shmurak 11:01 AM  

OK, I'm dating myself here, but I was initially thrown off by the 1963 in the LouieLouie clue. I knew we'd danced to the song and discussed the supposed obscenity when I was in high school, and I was in college by 1963. It seems the 1957 version by the Pharaohs was the first cover of this song, so I was correct. The Kingsman rerecorded it in 1963. I guess it was their version that was investigated by the FBI. But otherwise an easy puzzle. I liked fault-finder and home wreckers too!

Gill I. P. 11:25 AM  

Hey @George B....Can't win for losing heh?
I'm in the @Roo Monster camp. I also think the raves are high today because of some less than stellar recent puzzles. Or maybe I just expect all of Berry's puzzle to be marvelous...
This is a clean, neat puzzle but nothing really made me jump up and down. Well, maybe ROCKING HORSE did.
I can't help but feel that Patrick put this together while maybe sitting at a favorite Starbucks sipping a Teavana Oprah Chai Tea Latte. We know he's that good. This puzzle...just didn't make me want to sing LOUIE LOUIE in PARIS.

JTHurst 11:32 AM  

Gadzooks!! I usually don't post on Thursday and Friday because generally the puzzles give me an "asswhoopin'. Todays puzzle was fun maybe because I got bingo night and 'Louie Lou i' which brought back memories of pegged pants and Beattle boots with Tab Hunter hairstyles.

But I had to comment on yesterday's blog and ask was I on the wrong side of The Looking Glass? Did someone let Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum onto their computers? Though I did sign onto the uzorspelltemple site and now have an account in First Bank of Nigeria PLC where I will be sending money and a box of hair and fingernail clippings along with Anonymous postings with the hopes he can rid us of the scourge of anonymous posters.

Far be it from me to tell Rex how to run his blog, of which I thoroughly enjoy and hope he can maintain it for another 8 years, but I would aggregate all the anonymous posters into one group. Then, those of us with time constraints can bypass them and read those postings from people with 5a (Tuesday's puzzle clue). And if the anonymous writers are all the same person, because they could be, well then maybe I am on the wrong side of The Looking Glass.

Anonymous posters are not required to respond to this post.

RAD2626 11:32 AM  

I agree with the positive comments. Long answers were all very satisfying to get and all great clues. Too bad Jason did not show up with his backup band the ARGONAUTS. Had Nap for a time and NEWSiEs which slowed me down a little but Still a quick, fun, seamless Friday.

jae 11:41 AM  

Easy-medium for me too. Bottom half easy, top half medium.

Only erasures were @LHS 888 cReek before BROOK and eden before NEST.

Yes, a solid smooth Fri. with a bit of zip. Liked it but not as much as say last Friday's effort by Finn Vigeland. Just sayin...

Blue Stater 11:47 AM  

Since I'm often (and probably fairly) accused of negativity, let me express my unalloyed pleasure at today's demanding but smooth puzzle from Patrick Berry. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me to expect that the self-styled Greatest Xword Puzzle in the English-Speaking World will have puzzles like this as the rule rather than the exception.

r.alphbunker 11:50 AM  

Will Shortz made the following comment over at xwordinfo:

"One of my rules for crosswords is that I want the solver to understand every clue after its answer is filled in. The clue can be misleading, infuriating, maybe impossible to get without all the crossings, but once it's filled in, the solver should understand what it means. I know I hate it when I don't "get" a clue. Hence, I have some qualms about the clue for NEWSMEN ("Post office workers?") at 18D. Some solvers might wonder, after finally filling in the answer — Why would newsmen work at post offices? (rather than get that Post here is a proper name). In this case, though, qualms be damned. The clue was too good not to use."

That is why I enjoy looking at punny clues from previous puzzles. For example, here are some ways that NEST has been clued in the past.
Swallow hole?
Branch headquarters?
Hatching post?
Leaves home?
Catbird seat?
Cardinal point?
Build a tree house?
Diet of worms locale?
Swift production?
Kite flying destination?
Sticks in a bowl?
One out on a limb?
Beech house?
Flies home?

All of these met the Shortz criteria for me except the last one. Can anybody explain why {Flies home?} makes sense as a clue for NEST? Do flies live in nests?

@Whirred Whacks
GEOLOGIST has also been clued as {Stones fan?}

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

Halle-fucking-lujah. Rex liked a puzzle! Sound the trumpets!

wreck 11:56 AM  

To expand on my first post, while this puzzle was "fast" - I really don't think it was "easy." After my first pass, I had very little to show for entries. A few letters here and there, and knowing how much misdirection Berry uses, it really snowballs after that. It's a combination of great clues AND great construction that makes his puzzles the works of art they are.

Maruchka 11:58 AM  

@ r.alph - Re: NEST Today's delivered paper clues it as "First flight locale".

AZPETE 11:59 AM  

Sure it's easy when you cheat.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  

Oops. Never mind..

AZPETE 12:04 PM  

Stick! Stick my finger in her hole of love. There's one thing wrong she really loves. To stay better in her arms again, I'll tell her I'll never lay her again. Louie, Louie. Every night at ten I lay her again. F&@k your girls all kinda ways.

old timer 12:26 PM  

Great PB puzzle, and thank you Will for explaining "newsmen".

Louie Louie was a gift for me and most people in their sixties or older, I bet.

IJWTS that I liked yesterday's puzzle too. I did mine on paper, where the body parts clue did not give away the answers, and the puzzle actually needed the revealer if you didn't want to Google too much. I can imagine Rex's consternation when the revealer gave away too much in the online version. (And maybe Rex should have some insomniac friend to call at midnight if the online version is acting up.)

Anne Meilof 12:38 PM  

Newsmen -- ha! I missed the capital P and am so ancient I thought that mailmen (an obsolete term, I know) were newsmen because they deliver news via the mail. Like anyone gets their news in letters anymore!

Numinous 12:53 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yet Another Anon 12:56 PM  

DannyO said:
"Hey, I only want to see postings that have to do with the NYT puzzle, and Rex's commentary on it. I assume that this is what most of the audience wants."

And if this were your personal blogspace, then that would matter. Since it isn't, you get to take it or leave it as it is which includes other people's right to post what they like.

Look, it's not like @GB or anyone else is regaling us with their latest operation or trying to sell you Amway. From what I've seen, the external links are generally tangents off the day's puzzle regarding the constructor or the topic or some unusual entry. All puzzle-related. So what if a lot of them are on his website? Good for him for having interesting things on his site. People will deem it anything from meh to fascinating, but that is their call to make. You want to censor someone just for not being interesting to you.

"Tangential sites should be listed on the right side where others can go to their hearts' content. Is this so unreasonable?"

Reasonable or not, it's @RP's call. Not @George's or anyone else.

You do know that clicking anywhere in the space of a comment will collapse it, right? So when you see a person's name that you don't care for, like magic you can be spared the grueling task of scrolling past all those (one) comments.

Incidentally, @JTHurst, I am only posting semi-anonymously because, frankly, I find the impersonation posts of yesterday to be a bit creepy. I've actually been reading RP for about 4 years but only rarely emerge from the shadows to comment. :-)

Numinous 1:01 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Numinous 1:09 PM  

An interesting article on Louie louie which discusses the FBI spending two and a half years investigating an innocent song.

I really enjoyed pondering the clues in this PB effort. No, not an effort, and accomplishment. Once I got many of them I had to smile in the way Will suggests. Aha moments abounded for me.

Happy ONSET of year 9 @Rex.

DannyO 1:23 PM  


Just posting my opinions ...

As you say, " ... You get to take it or leave it as it is, which includes other people's right to post what they like."

Hm-m-m-m ...

I guess you get to be the arbiter of WHICH other people have this right, and which don't.

Yet Another Anon 1:47 PM  

DannyO said:

"I guess you get to be the arbiter of WHICH other people have this right, and which don't."

What an odd conclusion to reach. I have argued against your position and your right to act upon it, not your right to hold it or publicize it. Post it 50 times if you want to.

You have every right to post whatever you like, just like everyone else does. You don't have the right to not be disagreed with, just like everyone else doesn't.

That's three for me and I'm out, so feel free to have the last word.

Anonymous 2:09 PM  

I started doing this puzzle without looking at the constructor's name, and in admiration finally looked up and wasn't surprised it was PB. As usual, nothing to complain about here, all good cluing, lateral thinking, no unjustifiable stretches in the clues, and no need to Google anything. Only criticism -- more gimmees than appropriate for a Friday (14A, 19A, 21A, 52A53A, 56A), which is probably why most of you thought it was easy. Sick with the flu, I can barely remember my name so it took an hour of hard work, but I imagine a healthy person should have finished in a half hour. But aside from being a tad too easy, it's a model of how to construct a themeless puzzle, as Rex said.

Leapfinger 2:23 PM  

Hey, I needed those cross INGs in the center! Had little to hang a hat on till that lovely GEOLOGIST turned up. LOUIE LOUIE rocked also, but I came down with a touch of beri-beri in the North Central, Was just positive that Blake quote would have excess leading to TEDIUM. When that didn't work, I started running 6-letter words ending in M...Any idea how many there are? Will just say that by the time I got to WISDOM, I was ready to commit REDRUM. Tough to have a clean solve when you DRAGGE DOUT into it.

That section GOT TO an interesting mini-theme when it ENDED: besides the Conan Doyle interest in SPIRITING, there's Sherlock's HIGHS on his 7 1/2% solution, his playing on A PHIDdle, and of course, the SHAG for his PIPE.

BTW, as of a couple of years ago, they were still doing the SHAG at NC Beach Dances. With style.

Enjoyed the nod to yesterday with BUST MORASS, but had trouble with Agee/INGE, Pail/PIPE, lose/BUST, aMPING/UMPING. Overall, it was Just Right, and thanks so much.

Hope everyone will act like A GENT, keep the CARPEN' TE RANTS in the MINEr mode; don't want to BOHR or AGRAv8 the troops. The word of the day should be MORASS, not HardASS.

Off now to have a GIBSON, or is that a RoB ROy? Gotta SKAT.

ANON B 2:48 PM  


I (we) can do without your
filthy language.

Fred Romagnolo 3:07 PM  

I'm ashamed to say I had to google the Blake quote. @Kathy D: same stumps as thee, D. @Mathguy: "this evening" was the clue's giveaway (which I didn't get, either). I find a lot of the anonymice irritating, but you cant skip them 'til (till) you find out that it's rant. Too old for the LOUIE LOUIE, but had a vague memory of the controversy. I enjoy it when RENEE's are "Flemings." She's not only a classy singer, but she's a knockout. Like ILONA. I guess orchards have APHIs, but I always think roses, which I grow.

Fred Romagnolo 3:09 PM  

@ANON B: eggzacketly!

Gill I. P. 3:12 PM  

Hey @Jete pinky...Can I join you? We have to include @Maruchkatini...
@GB - now look what you've gone and done...;-) I'm loving the comments!

LHS 888 4:09 PM  

I have to confess I knew the William Blake quote from seeing "Bull Durham". There's a really funny exchange between the two lead characters featuring that quote. It goes to show a "classical" education can have humble beginnings...

AliasZ 4:14 PM  

It is interesting that some people have the burning desire to control what others say or do, even though, or maybe precisely because, it is not in their authority to do so.

It is sad that we allow cowards who hide under the convenient cloak of anonymous invisibility, or hijack legitimate identities, or use phony identities, to set the tone of this blog. In the past number of days we've had more discussion about what Anonymous said and did than about the subject at hand.

Those who find it a pleasure to wallow in the mud of anonymity rarely have anything constructive to add. Their contribution usually is turmoil, anger, hatred and personal attacks. When even one of us becomes a victim, we all suffer. They drag down this great blog to their level: the lowest common denominator.

God bless Rex for giving us this forum and the freedom to say what we want. If only we did not abuse the privilege.

Rex chooses to allow anyone, even those without legitimate Google accounts, to comment, so we must depend on the good will and ethics of commenters, and their common sense to observe and live by the rules of polite discourse, which we, even most anonymice, already do. Sadly, knowing human nature, some never will. They will continue to wreak havoc.

Therefore the best we can do, hard as that seems at times, is not to engage them. IGNORE, IGNORE, IGNORE.

r.alphbunker 4:15 PM  

I am curious if any of the readers of this blog who were outraged by George Barany's "self-promotion" actually followed the links he provided.

One was to a wonderful blog that comments on the NYT puzzle using well-drawn cartoon panels. I am adding that to my list of interesting links.

The other was a link to another puzzle done by Alex Vratsanos who was the constructor yesterday. I finally got around to doing just now and really enjoyed it. It is a very balanced puzzle with something for everyone. And it had a nice surprise at the end.

So George, please continue to post links to things that you find interesting related to crossword puzzles.

I also wonder if the complainers have contributed anything to this blog when Rex asks for donations. Last year I contributed $100 and plan to do so every year as long as Rex does the blog. One of the reason this blog is worth that much to me is because of posters like George.

Finally George Barany posts uses his real name as I do. This greatly increases the chance that we will treat other posters on this blog with the respect that we accord people we meet in the real world.

Anonymous 4:27 PM  

Thank you Alias Z for your judgmental over-the-top bloviating. "God bless rex?!" Don't you think He has bigger things to worry about? You are a cult member, and rex is your leader.

Marvin Libner 4:44 PM  

It's not a hump song, and it's not a dance song, it's a sea shanty.

Whirred Whacks 4:52 PM  

I agree with @R.alphBunker's comments regarding @George Barany. Several weeks ago, I followed the link in George's name to his website. There I discovered a delightful puzzle he had constructed for a baseball fan's birthday. Lots of fun!

Interesting comment about using real names: I think this is one of the few sites where I don't use my real name. I think it has to do with Blogger's connection with Google and GMail. That said, using one's real name keeps things more civil (which I try to be anyway). [If anyone's curious, look up the book "A Whack on the Side of thr Head."]

Leapfinger 4:58 PM  

Can't ask for better than the comments of 4:14 and 4:15. Notice, if you will, the difference between 'decent' and 'descent'. Sssss....

@Gilly, I think if you put the 3 of us together, we'd have a dangerous situation on our hands. We ought to tr it sometime.

Anonymous 5:33 PM  

I came close to finishing a Friday, but--curses, foiled again. This time because I simply would not give up on the idea that LOCKE was the answer to 26-D, I could not make any sense out of that area. So close, but out of reach. I know now how Tantalus felt.

Martin 5:42 PM  

It seems that the folks here vary in their understanding of the concept "Don't Feed the Troll". I believe Rex has understood it from birth, but some others might find it a useful lesson.

George Barany is the nicest guy I've never met. He's the sort that sends flowers to people he doesn't know if he hears of a death in the family. His exuberance may strike lesser mortals as evidence of a hidden agenda, but the notion that he spends all the hours when a normal person would sleep preparing crosswords for any reason other than bringing joy is absurd.

mac 6:22 PM  

Why would anyone here complain about free crossword puzzles?

Mohair Sam 6:33 PM  

What the hell is the problem?

I don't know George Barany. In fact I don't know anyone here. I very rarely follow links recommended by any poster nor those posted by Rex. But I'm wondering why these links bother anyone.

Link away folks. And would those bothered by such please do what I do, don't click on the links. And please stop complaining.

Z 6:33 PM  

Solving in beautiful St. Ignace, MI today ahead of tomorrow's "Mighty Mac Bridge Race" (soon to be renamed "Z's Folly"). I absolutely flew through the east with SAAB, BOHR, OHARE, LASS, and LOUIE LOUIE all being "might as well be Monday" gimmes. Then a flat out stall. No clue on ------TERANTS, thought maybe hangING AROUND, and hobby HORSES didn't work. The only words I had in the west before taking the ferry to Mackinac Island were C'EST and INKS. Picked up the iPad after returning and got CARPENTER ANTS almost immediately. The only slow down was undoing coors before getting PABST.

Looking at the completed grid, wowser. AGRA in the service of ARGONAUTS and AIRHORNS is well worth it. The man does set the bar.

Speech is free. Listening is optional. Sometimes someone just wants to ask a question. Sometimes someone doesn't know how to create an account. Sometimes it is @MAS. So I read them all. If, on occasion, the only thought that occurs to me is "I hope s/he takes a long walk off a short pier," well, I never claimed to be perfect.

Leapfinger 7:24 PM  

For anyone who remembers, or would like to remember the Carolina SHAG. Great fun for the AGILE.

JTHurst 7:48 PM  

@anon 4:27 Bloviate, I knew I heard that before, so I looked it up and saw it was a favorite of Warren G. Harding (maybe I heard it on Boardwalk Empire), which then leads to Agnew's "nattering nabobs of negativity". I suppose this shows that even in a pile of dung you might find a diamond.

As Z stated, "Speech is free." But only in certain locales. The majority of Asia this is not true. Singapore has free speech if you go to a certain soapbox in the corner of one park near Chinatown, called 'speakers corner' where you can rant and rave all you want except no mention of religion or races.

RnRGhost57 7:51 PM  

Agree with all who said re: Barany and links: let a hundred flowers bloom.

A fun book by the great rock critic Dave Marsh, Louie Louie: The History and Mythology of the World's Most Famous Rock 'n' Roll Song; Including the Full details of Its Torture and Persecution at the Hands of the Kingsmen, J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, and a Cast of Millions; and Introducing for the First Time Anywhere, the Actual Dirty Lyrics.

Anonymous 8:33 PM  

A putz posting as AliassZ feels that's different than posting as anonymous? That's rich.

bookmark 8:34 PM  

The shag is South Carolina's official state dance. My husband and I did the shag as teenagers in the '60s. Loved seeing it in the grid today.

anonymous 10:17 PM  

Agree, agree, agree. Solid clues and answers and no crossing of B list pop figures with unknown rappers and no nonsense with miserable ? clues which lead to nonsense answers like aeiou If yesterday was one of the worst puzzles ever today's was excellent.

Donkos 4:51 PM  

Happy anniversary rex and spouse!!! Today is our twenty eighth

Atlantasolver 5:52 PM  

I also sent in $100 -- the best value I can think of, as this site easily doubles the pleasure of every puzzle.

Z 6:47 PM  

@atlantasolver - I only did $20 because I didn't do my usual $10 last year.

rondo 10:44 AM  

A note to all of my syndi-land comraes - last night I had an amazing Baader-Meinhof moment regarding clues and answers from earlier this week. For the first time in AEONS, I didn't retire before the weeest of hour of ONEAM on a "school" night. I was up late and the Halloween marathon of Hitchcock Presents began - hard to resist, no? Just as the weeest of hours passed, an episde from c. 1956 came on - main star? Everett SLOANE!! But half-way through, the local sherriff shows up at the monestary, and who is it? Claude AKINS - recognized his voice before his face was shown. If this isn't Bader-Meinhof, I don't know what is - and on Halloween!

As for today's puz, mostly zipped through it with a little slow down in the north-central and a write-over cReeeK for BROOK. Felt almost ROBOTIC. This puz was fun and the way I hope to see them.

Those squiggly words keep me from playing - maybe I'll GETTO next time.

rondo 11:27 AM  

comrades - sorry

spacecraft 11:58 AM  

I wondered if OFL was going to say something about all the INGs--and he did, but despite those and the partial GETTO he declares this grid the "ideal." Is it? Let me quote Johnny Hooker: "You were right: it's not enough. Buut it's close!" [grinning broadly] Closer than most get, for sure.

I finished this; I always do with PBs, but I didn't think I was going to. After my first run-through I had not the INGs, but the -STs. Looking at CEST, NEST and BUST. Finally took a STAB in the NE with SAAB, had to replace Nap with NOD, and was off.

CompletING the center and bottom with the iconic LOUIELOUIE (that FBI story makes me laugh, as it did then--those yokels had no more idea than anybody else WHAT was being sung), I came to the NW. This gave me pause.

23a seemed to want to be WISDOM, but I thought at first the quote didn't make sense. Then I realized he meant a "sadder but" type of WISDOM. And I resisted GETTO because, well, it's a Berry, what's a partial doing in here? But then another ING (E) came to the rescue and I polished 'er off with BINGONIGHT.

The biggest roadblock was sussing "Post office" as "the office of the [Washington, e.g.] Post" and not our friends at the USPS. That's my nominee for Tough Clue of the Week.

Oh, A. Can there be any other grade?

Wow, only 8 captchas to the first legible one. Hey, maybe I can use that as MY number!

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

Easy, breezy puzzle and fun, fun, fun for a Friday change. You have to agree that Patrick Berry is the "BERRIES." Look that one up you young whippersnappers.
I was at first confused with 1D, thinking it was InBev which is the biggest brewer in the world, headquartered in Belgium. It's nice to know the U.S. still has many fine breweries.

So bottoms up to everyone from Sunny San Diego.

Ron Diego, La Mesa 229=4

DMG 2:04 PM  

Starting from my first "given", NTH, with much appreciated assistance from the "ing" partials, I managed to work out the unknowns and clever cluing to finish. This kind of puzzle is what makes solving fun and rewarding. My final letter was the M in OMAN. So many four letter possibilities, Iran, Iraq, Oran, Oman. Finally deduced the un-remembered Oz character must be ROBOTIC. Aha, starts with an O, and the cross then is COALMINE! Hey, I did it. On the other hand,

3503 makes @Ron Diego's paltry 4 a winner. At least so far!

Anonymous 2:45 PM  

Ambev for 1 down. So proud, so wrong.

rain forest 3:18 PM  

No need to gild the lily here. A fine puzzle, obviously, with nary a squinting entry. The NW, NE, and SW went quickly, but getting BINGONIGHT and SLEEPERHIT took a little agonizing--yes *this* night; yes, a late-blooming movie. Once I got those the rest was pretty easy. And fun. And very well executed.

@Spacey - I always wonder about partials. I think they are parts of a phrase, usually clued with a blank. To me, GET TO, is a synonym of "reach", ie, not a partial, and anyway, partials don't really bother me if they are in the language.

10969 7, I believe, and maybe a winner.

Dirigonzo 4:16 PM  

I got my foothold at the bottom of the grid (with a big assist from the Kingsmen's hit song) and so built the grid from the ground up, marveling along the way how each piece fit seamlessly into the next - marvelous architecture! The only casualties among my first guesses were GImlet/GIBSON and lottONIGHT giving way to BINGO.

@rondo - great Halloween story - spooky!

11212 - an efficient way to reach a tie?

rondo 4:33 PM  

thanks @Diri - and true!

510 - all trick, no treat

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